Wildlife Disease

Submission of Biological Samples

Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development has enacted measures to protect wild elk and deer from disease.

By law, hunters must submit biological samples (head, upper neck and lungs) of elk and deer taken in certain Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) to Manitoba Natural Resources and Northern Development. Samples are checked for any signs of disease.

Samples are required from elk and deer taken in the mandatory surveillance zone. This includes the areas of Game Hunting Areas (GHAs) 5, 6, 6A, 11, 12, 13, 13A, 18, 18A, 18B, 18C, 22, 23, 23A, 27, 28, 29, 29A, 30, 31, 31A, 32, 33, 34, 35, and 35A. .

GHAs 23 and 23A have additional sample submission requirements for the lungs and trachea (windpipe) of deer or elk harvested in these areas. These samples are required to test for both the presence of Bovine Tuberculosis and CWD.

Please submit samples within 48 hours of harvesting. Samples may be submitted to any of the following Drop-off Depots.

For more information, see the Manitoba Hunting Guide or call (204) 638-4570.


Anthrax is a disease mainly of cattle, sheep and horses and is caused by a bacteria found in the soil. Any warm blooded animal, including wildlife and humans, can contract the disease. Infection results when the bacteria or spores produced by the bacteria enter the body.

Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza is a viral infection of birds. Wild birds, particularly ducks and geese, have carried influenza viruses for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. Wild birds may carry avian influenza (sometimes known as bird flu) but not show any signs of being ill. However, they can spread the disease to other birds, including domestic poultry. Mammals can also catch an avian influenza virus from infected birds.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and communicable disease caused by bacteria. It affects cattle, bison, deer, elk, goats, and other species, including humans.


Hantavirus can be carried by deer mice, although other rodent species have been shown to be infected. The deer mouse can be pale gray to reddish brown, and has white fur on its belly, feet and underside of the tail. The deer mouse lives primarily in rural and semi-rural areas, but can also reside in urban centres. Hantaviruses are not spread from pets or livestock.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection that people can get from the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick. Exposure to blacklegged ticks can occur from April to November. They are smaller in size than the common dog (wood) tick, which does not transmit Lyme disease. Throughout Manitoba, there is a chance of being exposed to Lyme disease through contact with infected blacklegged ticks transported by birds. However, there is a greater risk in the southeast corner of the province where an infected blacklegged tick population is established.


Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. In Canada, the animals that most often transmit rabies are foxes, skunks, bats and feral cats.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a flavivirus that can infect and cause disease in people, birds, horses, and many other animals. Potential for WNV transmission from handling or consuming game is considered very low. There have been no documented cases of WNV being transmitted to hunters from game. Hunters are encouraged to take common sense precautions when handling, cleaning and cooking game birds and mammals, including wearing gloves, washing hands and cooking meat thoroughly.